After spending several days in Wuhan doing our official marriage paperwork, we were ready for a party. Tian and I took a 1.5 hour bus ride to her hometown of Xiaogan, where her parents were throwing us a celebratory lunch reception on June 26. It was to be the first big wedding event of the summer.
Tian’s parents had worked hard on all the preparations for months. The biggest job was inviting people, which in China involved personalized home visits, phone calls, and invitations as well as gifts of good cigarettes and “xi tang” (happiness candies). It must have worked because we learned that they had amassed a small army of extended family and close friends to join the party.
Fortunately, I was able to get two more foreign names added to the guest list, my brother Dan and his friend Fro. For most of June they had been traveling southwestern China and Tibet. It worked out great for them to come to Xiaogan for a few days. In fact, they were looking forward to relaxing in one spot for a while. They even were able to find a hotel very close to Tian’s parents’ home. I was grateful that Dan was able to be a part of this big life event.